This week, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee and House Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee released, heard and marked up their omnibus bills. In the Senate bill, the ProStart/HTMP appropriation for $250,000 and the Online Hospitality Training program for $350,000 plus $25,000 for maintenance were included. In the House bill, the ProStart/HTMP appropriation was included for $400,000, thanks to a suggested increase by champion and author Rep. Dave Baker.
Given that testimony was not taken from those who had already testified, Hospitality Minnesota submitted materials in support of both bills. Thank you to Hospitality Minnesota members and advocates who took the time to testify on these priorities; it made a positive impact!
The next steps are for the bills to pass the Finance Committees in both chambers; pass the on their floors and go to conference committee. We will monitor progress of the bills and weigh in appropriately. We expect conference committees to begin in late April.
This week, the House and Senate Transportation Committees included the 75 cent retail delivery fee in their omnibus bills. The fee will impact every delivery order in the state of Minnesota. Hospitality Minnesota has been leading a coalition on the issue with other impacted associations.
To that effect, we have submitted a coalition letter, testified in opposition to the fee in the House Transportation Committee earlier today and will testify in opposition to the fee in the Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon with members Pizza Lucé and Craft & Crew Hospitality.
Last Friday, the House Workforce Development Committee heard HF1240, a $250,000 grant appropriation to Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation for the ProStart and HTMP programs. The bill was introduced by hospitality champion Representative Dave Baker and has bipartisan support.
Chef John Van House and Noah Rosenberger testified in support of the program and what it means to students across Minnesota. Their testimony was well received by members of the committee, including very positive comments from Representative Sencer Mura, who has the Roosevelt ProStart program in her district. The bill has been laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill.
Yesterday evening, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committe held the first hearing in weeks on Paid Family Medical Leave from 5:30PM – 9:00PM. The hearing was held because the fiscal note (cost of the program) is now available, which you can read below.
During the hearing, several amendments were adopted that make changes to the bill. While we are working to best understand how they will impact the program, here are some highlights:
Exempts seasonal employees: “Employee does not include seasonal employees who are employed for no more than 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period. A seasonal employee whose employment extends beyond 150 days during any consecutive 52-week period shall be considered an employee for the purposes of this chapter retroactively to the first day of employment.”
Reduces maximum benefit to 20 weeks: “The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for a serious health condition is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for bonding, safety, or family care plus 8 weeks. The total number of weeks that an applicant may take benefits in a single benefit year for bonding, safety leave, or family care is the lesser of 12 weeks, or 12 weeks minus the number of weeks within the same benefit year that the applicant received benefits for a serious health condition plus 8 weeks.”
Changes the 90 day provision: Clearly shifts 90 day provision to apply to job protection (not when you can take the leave. “Ninety days from the date of hire, an employee has a right and is entitled to reinstatement as provide under this subdivision for any day for which the employee has been deemed eligible for benefits under this chapter.”
Small business wage exclusion: “For employers with fewer than 30 employees, the amount of wages upon which quarterly employer premium is required is reduced by the premium rate to be paid by the employer multiplied by the lessor of:
Changes to business assistance grants: Allows employers to be eligible for business assistance grant when more than 15% of employees are receiving the benefits in any given week. The grant shall be equal to the lesser of: 25% of wages earned by the employees on leave in the most recent completed quarter divide by 13 or $300 per week per employee on leave. The grant must be used to hire temporary workers or to increase the wages for current employees. The grant is paid weekly.
Actuarial study: Requires an independent actuarial study to be completed and reported on by October 31, 2023. The actuarial study must study the family and medical leave premium rate, premium rate structure, weekly benefit formula, duration of benefits, fund reserve and other components as necessary to determine an actuarially sound rate and future rate setting mechanism of the family and medical benefit insurance program.
Wednesday, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard SF2023, which establishes a one-time appropriation of $350,000 to develop an online hospitality training course, modeled after the South Dakota program. The bill also accounts for a $25,000 annual appropriation for ongoing maintenance. Senator Rich Draheim is chief author of the Hospitality Minnesota priority bill and a hospitality industry advocate. He highlighted the need to help build the hospitality workforce, as we are down around 15,000 workers.
Hospitality Minnesota’s Liz Rammer lead off testimony; followed by Xinyi Qian (Director of University of Minnesota Extension Tourism Center) and Jason Subbert (TPI Hospitality). The bill was laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill, which will likely be released next week.
On Tuesday, Governor Walz, Speaker Hortman and Senate President Bobby Joe Champion announced the budget targets for the 2023 legislative session. Budget targets allow the House and Senate committees to start with a common goal as they pull together their omnibus budget bills over the weeks to come. That process already started this week with omnibus bill hearing beginning.
Key budget targets we are watching are:
· Taxes, aids and credits (net), $3 billion;
· Paid family medical leave, $668.3 million;
· Economic development, $250 million;
· Workforce development, $240 million;
· Earned sick and safe time, 4.8 million
To read the complete list of budget targets and more information on the process, please refer to the Session Daily article below.
Yesterday, the House Transportation Committee started the hearing process on HF580, which would establish a $0.75 delivery fee on all deliveries of tangible personal property in Minnesota, including restaurant deliveries. Hospitality Minnesota has partnered with the Minnesota Retailers Association to lead a coalition in opposition to the bill. There were many testifiers, including two Hospitality Minnesota members: JJ Haywood of Pizza Luce and Rob Williams of Davanni’s. Their testimony was included in KSTP coverage, which you can watch below.
During the Thursday hearing, they only took testimony and will reconvene today (Friday) at 10:30AM for member discussion. The intention is to lay the bill over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. Additionally, Chair Hornstein indicated they are looking at a small business exemption. More to come next week.
Laura Garcia | The Hotel Landing
On Wednesday, the House Property Tax Division heard HF1535, which would allow the City of Wayzata the authority to establish a 1% food and beverage tax on all restaurants and places of refreshment within the city. Hospitality Minnesota member, Laura Garcia, General Manager of The Hotel Landing, testified to raise concerns about the bill. There was committee discussion on the need for the tax; but ultimately the bill was laid over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. As a reminder, the Senate Taxes Committee has already heard the bill and laid the bill over for potential inclusion in the omnibus bill. This means that this proposed tax is “on the list” of the potential bills to be included in the final tax bill. Final negotiations on that bill will occur over the weeks to come.
On Monday, the Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee heard SF1794, which establishes additional one time appropriations for Explore Minnesota Tourism (EMT). Most importantly, it creates $10 million in one time tourism industry recovery grants, which can be used by entities across the state to attract conventions, events and meetings. Several testifiers – including Tourism for Growth Coalition, Meet Minneapolis, Congress of Minnesota Resorts, and Hospitality Minnesota – highlighted the positive impact the additional funds could provide to attract events and aid the tourism industry recovery.
Follow as we advocate for the hospitality industry at the local, state and federal levels. This work has been a hallmark of the Association for decades, and will continue to be a core benefit of membership.